One of the most overlooked parts of our Sunday Eucharist is the appointed Psalm. Preacher and lay people alike will skip over the text of the Psalm, looking at it as anything from an interlude between the “real” readings to a disruption to the service! I get it. The Psalms are tough. They’re the hymns of an ancient people, they’re tough poetry, they’re sometimes violent and often sad. The Psalms are tough, but they’re in the Bible, they’re an integral part of the liturgy, and we have to deal with them.
One of the blessings from my year at the the Society of St. John the Evangelist, a Monastery of the Episcopal Church, was that we sang all the Psalms every 4 weeks. 150 Psalms in 4 weeks. We sang a lot of Psalms! During the daily services, one had time to reflect on the texts and over the course of the year, Psalm 1 became one of my favorite.
There’s something about trees as an image for the spiritual life that just works. Trees grow in whichever direction is easiest. If there’s a powerline in the way, grow around it. If another tree is blocking your light, grow beside it. If the water is deeper under ground, send down deeper roots.
This is our life in the Spirit. When bad thing happen, we survive them and integrate them into our lives. When others block us or we block ourselves from the fullness of community, we can learn to grow in a different direction. When our spirit feels thin and God is far away, we can send down deeper roots into our community and seek the Living God who is a refreshing spring of water.
Where do you need to grow this week? Where do your roots need to go deeper?